Teeth whitening: it’s far and away the most popular cosmetic dental treatment. Since it’s so convenient, simple, and effective, that’s no big surprise. But do you know exactly how teeth whitening works within your teeth? If you’re considering treatment for the first time, then we recommend learning a little more about the process.
Once you understand what causes tooth stains, you’ll also be able to help your whitening results last. Make daily choices that cleanse and protect your teeth!
Types of Tooth Stains
- Intrinsic – These stains are formed during tooth development. They apply to the layer beneath the enamel, the dentin. Internal stains are typically caused by certain medications that the mother took during pregnancy, or the child took during youth. They may also be caused by trauma, or by the thinning of the enamel layer, which reveals the yellow dentin beneath.
Because intrinsic stains don’t pertain to the enamel, they can’t be lightened with whitening treatment. But dental bonding, porcelain veneers, or porcelain crowns will cover the stains.
- Extrinsic – External stains are caused by dark compounds that become lodged in your enamel (which is porous). Dark foods and liquids and tobacco use are the top offenders in causing stains. Teeth whitening is the right treatment method for these types of stains.
Whitening systems apply a bleaching agent (typically hydrogen peroxide) to the teeth, and then allows it to oxygenate the enamel. When the peroxide interacts with the enamel, it breaks up the staining compounds, leaving the enamel whiter within one appointment. Some whitening systems also use laser energy to catalyze the reaction and kickstart the whitening process.
When Teeth Whitening is Effective
If you’re facing external stains and hoping to brighten your entire smile, then teeth whitening is a great option. It’s fast and highly effective, and you’ll see changes right away (if you choose to whiten in-office with full-strength bleaching agents).
Ready to kick your grin up a notch? Just contact us.